S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Trevor, Major Tudor Gruffyd (geology, archaeology)

Born: 29 January 1865, Meifod, Wales, United Kingdom.
Died: 21 August 1954, Dawlish, Devon, England.

Tudor G. Trevor, geologist and mining pioneer, was the son of Edward S.R. Trevor and his wife, Janet E.A. Lloyd. He studied at the Royal School of Mines, London, from 1882 to 1886 and subsequently worked at a lead mine in north Wales for six months and then for some time as assistant chemist at the copper mines of Rio Tinta in Spain. He was an associate of the Royal School of Mines (ARSM) and a Fellow of the Geological Society of London (FGS). After returning to England he came to the South African Republic (Transvaal) in December 1887, a little more that a year after gold had been discovered on the Witwatersrand. Initially he was employed as an assayer at the Primrose Gold Mine, where he became the first person to smelt gold on the Rand. Later he opened a small coal mine near Boksburg, but this venture was not successful. From 1891 to 1897 he was involved in various mining and other activities and undertook trading journeys through the Transvaal, Natal, Swaziland, Mashonaland (in Zimbabwe) and Zambia. In 1894 he fought with the Boer forces in campaigns against indigenous tribes, but during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) served as an intelligence officer with the British forces and was awarded the Queen's Medal with two bars. In 1890 he married Henriette E. Dunkley, with whom he had two sons and a daughter. After her death in 1898 he married Nell E. Lloyd in 1908, with whom he had two more children.

In August 1901 Trevor was appointed deputy inspector of mines at Pretoria, capital of the newly created Transvaal Colony, and was responsible for mines all over the Transvaal outside the Witwatersrand. During World War I (1914-1918) he was on active service with the South African forces. After the war he represented South Africa at the Imperial Bureau of Mineral Resources in London in 1919, and at the Wembley Exhibition in London in 1924. In 1920 a unique nickel deposit was discovered near Bon Accord siding, Barberton, and a new nickel ferrite mineral found there was named Trevorite in his honour.

Trevor was a member of the Geological Society of South Africa, the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa (from 1902), and the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. At the joint meeting of the latter with its British counterpart in 1905 he read a paper on "The physical features of the Transvaal", which was included in the Addresses and papers... published after the meeting (Vol. 1, pp. 335-349). In the Annual Report of the Government Mining Engineer for 1909/1910 he published a "Report on the principal iron ores of the Transvaal" (pp. 79-90). Later he wrote a "General review of economic results attending the gold and base metal mining in the Pretoria inspectorate during 1904-14" for publication in the Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa (1919, Vol. 20, pp. 46-52, 177-180). From 1917 to 1925 he wrote a number of articles for the South African Journal of Industries on "Nickel", "Manganese", "Report on the marble deposits on the farm Marble Hall..." (with P.A. Wagner), "A South African oil shale industry", "Talc", "Producing sulpher in South Africa", "The industrial development of South Africa", "Oil yielding rocks in the Union of South Africa", and other topics. His contributions to the Official Year Book (1918) of the Union of South Africa dealt with "Coal", "Other metals", "Tin", "Non-metallic minerals other than coal", and "copper". With E.T. Mellor* as co-author he wrote a Report on a reconnaissance of the north-western Zoutpansberg district, which was published as a special publication of the Geological Survey of the Transvaal Colony (Pretoria, 1908). Later he contributed "Some notes on a visit to Lake Fundusi in the Zoutpansberg district of the Transvaal paid in August 1917" to the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa (1919-1920).

Trevor combined his mining expertise with his interest in archaeoloogy and produced three papers on prehistoric mining: "Some observations on ancient mine workings in the Transvaal" (Journal of the Chemcial, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1911/12), "Ancient tin mines of the Transvaal" (Ibid, 1919), and "Some observations on the relics of pre-European culture in Rhodesia and South Africa" (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1930).

After his retirement in 1925 Trevor was appointed Secretary of Mines and Works in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) on a three year contract and was stationed at Livingstone. In 1925 he sent the prehistoric Kalomo human skull, which had been found in a prospecting trench in May that year, to Professor Raymond A. Dart at the University of the Witwatersrand. When his contract expired in 1928 he settled in London. The next year he published three papers, the most important probably being "The geology of Northern Rhodesia and of the N. Rhodesian copper field", in the Mining Magazine (London, 1929). Later he became a consultant to Ashanti Goldfields and spent several months in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). In 1935 he and his wife settled near St Albans, but after her death in 1940 he went to live with his daughter-in-law in Norfolk. In his later years he developed glaucoma and became blind. He possessed an inexhaustible collection of anecdotes and published his autobiography, Forty years in Africa (London, 1932, 279p), as well as a novel, Tradition counts (London, 1932).

List of sources:
Addresses and papers read at the joint meeting of the British and South African Associations for the Advancement of Science held in South Africa, 1905, Vol. 1. Johannesburg: SAAAS.

Cohen, A.B. Notes on southern African stone tool collectors represented in the British Museum (Natural History). Received via e-mail from auther, 21 March 2001.

Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1904/5, Vol.5, Members; 1911/12, Vol. 12, paper by Trevor.

Council for Geoscience. Catalogue of publications of the Geological Survey and government publications on the earth sciences (compiled by R.R.M. Price). Pretoria: Council for Geoscience, 1997.

Dictionary of South African biography, Vol. 5, 1987.

Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1906, Vol. 10, list of members.

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology.... Pretoria: Geological Survey, Memoirs No. 18 (1922), 25 (1927), and 27 (1931).

Hubbard, P. A bibliography of Zimbabwean archaeology, Version 1.0, January 2007 (electronic file received from author).

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Trevor, Tudor Gruffyd(d) / Trevor, Major T.G.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1919-1920, Vol. 8, paper by Trevor.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1905/6, 1910: Lists of members.

Standard encyclopaedia of southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

Compiled by: C. Plug